Fundraising is hard. It’s even harder when you hold onto beliefs that don’t serve you.


I know. I’ve been there. I’ve had beliefs about donors and asking for donations that held me back from raising money. The thing is- our beliefs don’t always reflect reality.


But I didn’t take a look at my beliefs, raising money that helped people suffered. People suffered. The waitlist grew. The funding didn’t. But when I realized my beliefs around donors weren’t necessarily true and I began changing those beliefs, I was able to write appeal letters that brought in $80,000. I was able to create online campaigns that brought in $100,000 in 24 hours. I was able to tell stories about the people we served, received money and was the most requested speaker at the organization. I once did 30 speeches in 30 days and received a $15,000 check because of the speaking engagements!!


Donors and donor list are the key to funding. Over the years, I have discovered three beliefs around donor lists that hold most people new to fundraising  back from raising the money they need.


Building A Donor List Is Hard And Time-Consuming


Building a donor list takes time- that’s building the number on your list and the time it takes to set up the pieces and work all the parts. The thing is- not taking the time means you never have enough funding. You are never able to raise money for your cause. You are always chasing that next event. You are always wringing your hands wondering where the next dollar is coming from. You’ll chase the next shiny thing only to be disappointed when it doesn’t work out.


Building a donor list is hard and time-consuming. But the work and the time that you put into building your donor list reap more rewards then chasing that next shiny thing ever will. And a little secret? You can automate most of what it takes to build a donor list so you can get people on your list even while you’re sound asleep.


We don’t need a donor list because ( fill in the blank) fundraisers have done well.


If I had a dime for every time that fill in the blank was an event I would be rich. The thing is when COVID-19 struck, those same organizations were scrambling to figure out how they were going to keep the doors open because their funding had just completely dried up. It was only because one organization had a small list that I was able to help put together a donor campaign that brought in almost $18,000 during Covid-19. Donor lists are your funding.


I don’t know how to build a list.


If you’ve never built a donor list before, of course, you don’t know how. Allowing yourself to continue believing that you can’t build one because you don’t know how only paralyzes you and your funding potential. One day you will wake up knowing that you are shutting down the nonprofit because you never took the time to figure out how to build a list. But building a donor list doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to be focused, intentional and consistent.


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